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Thursday, 16 May 1968

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question. I have read, and have verified, that at a function that the Minister attended after the launching of a tanker in Newcastle last Friday, his Australian Country Party colleague, the New South Wales Minister for Public Works, said, certainly not for the first time, that the Federal Government had not followed through the policy it announced 5 years ago for having coastal oil tankers built in Australia and the Minister for Shipping and Transport himself said that all was not well in our shipbuilding industry and that government subsidies might not be enough to enable the shipyards to compete. I ask the Minister what the Government has done or is doing to ensure that coastal tankers are built in Australia and when the Government will ask the Tariff Board to report again on the shipbuilding industry. I point out that previous references to the Board were made at much shorter intervals - in March 1954, December 1957 and September 1962 - that the Board's first two reports were presented to the Parliament 2 years after reference and the last one 20 months after reference, which is 4 years ago next month.

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